Cleveland Cavaliers: From Nothing To Playoff Contention

Cleveland Cavaliers: From Nothing To Playoff Contention

On entering the Season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to be a mediocre team with no clear direction. The Cavaliers did not have any notable All-Star except for a washed up Kevin Love so the popular opinion of them was not far-fetched.

Rebuild Mode

After LeBron James left the Cavaliers again in the 2018 off-season, they did not get anything back for his departure. So they had to go through a complete rebuild phase trading away all the other pieces with the exception of Kevin Love.

The following seasons saw the cavaliers hovering in the bottom of the conference due to which they received a lot of lottery picks. They selected Colin Sexton in 2018 and Darius Garland in 2019 drafts respectively. The Cavaliers had decided to build around this backcourt for the future. They acquired Jarett Allen from the Nets for giving them much needed defensive presence in the paint.

The addition of Lauri Markkanen from the Bulls in the free agency trade of 2021 and drafting Evan Mobley completed their team. It was very confusing as the Cavaliers went with a completely unconventional lineup of playing two undersized guards and three 7-footers at the start of the 2021 season. Everyone in the league was skeptic regarding this approach and completely blew off the Cavs.

However, their idea worked. Each player complemented one another so well because of the different play style that they have been beating big name teams. They are placed 6th in the tightly contested Eastern Conference with a record of 36-26. Not eye-popping yet surprising!

Back to Contention?

The backcourt of Garland and Sexton is very compatible. Garland takes the playmaking duties and shooting 3s whereas Sexton focuses on slashing and scoring. Jarett Allen was already known for his defense but this season he improved on his offense as well making post plays which he couldn’t do earlier. Evan Mobley’s unexpected rise in his rookie season helped the Cavs bolster both their offense and defense. Lauri Markkanen’s ability to hit a jumpshot from anywhere in the court provides spacing for Mobley and Allen to operate in the interior.

It’s no wonder that the Cavaliers has got 2 players being named in the All-Star team this season, namely, Darius Garland and Jarett Allen. Kevin Love’s new role as the 6th man has provided instant spark on offense coming off the bench. ‘Darkhorse’ fits the Cavaliers best. Keep an eye on them this playoffs as they have the ability to upset any of the favorites.

“Ladies and gentleman you have witnessed the 2nd greatest performance in NBA history.” That’s the way Soham was introduced to the world of Basketball. He is an ardent fan of the game capturing every moment, whether it be the long and turbulent regular season or the nail-biting playoff series. His perspective as a player provides valuable insight to the game. A follower of Kobe Bryant, he brings his mamba mentality in gathering every piece of information of the NBA.

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